Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stir-fried Mixed Colored Long Bean With Prawns and Cashew Nuts

After a nice lunch celebrating my birthday (yep, am getting wiser another year! LOL) in a Japanese Restaurant, my family decided to get some grocery at this mall. It's Sunday and this place was crowded as usual. Judging by the hot weather, I bet lots of people were enjoying the 'free' air-conditioning in such malls besides bringing their families for shopping. Yours truly, preferred to be near the freezers LOL!

What a coincidence, someone we knew participated in a local Model Search held at this mall and we're glad that he was in the final. Later on, I learnt that he didn't won anything because the main awards and other sub-titles (is this the correct term?) were won by the sponsor's own models! OK, the 14 Finalists got something like RM 400 worth of Prizes (Vouchers? Toilettries ... worth € 84.70/ USD 111.08?) I found it strange... First, they advertised for Model Search which was opened to the public. If they voted their own models (which obviously already searched and founded) as winners, what's the contest for? I suspected it's part of their gimmick to promote their agency but what a biased and unprofessional etiquette! Could it be such practice is confined locally or the same as any model agencies through out the world? Is there any models or agencies that can shed some light in this matter? Yes, I felt it's not fair that my friend didn't win a single thing but I also pitied the other hopefuls I saw that day. They should get a fair judgement and votes! I remembered I saw a petite model about 5 ft 2 in who wore a 5 inch tall high heels... blessed her feet!

Ok, now back to this recipe I wanted to share :-D I found an interesting item (also rare) among the shelves of multi colored hues of vegetables! I read about it before but never thought I saw it with my own eyes this long garnet colored long beans! This is the end product... :-D

Here's the stars fo the dish... the Red or Purple Long Bean or Yard Long Beans (Vigna unguiculata)! I pictured it with some left over, common Green Long Bean variety. There's definitely differences between these 2 species; not only it's color but taste and texture. Which one is my favourite? Any guesses?

Let's get to dish! I mixed the two types of Long Beans with some prawns and nuts. The taste came out nicely balanced with the extra creamy, cruncy cashew nuts. I admitted, I was worried that the Red/Purple Long beans may lose their color and turned mushy, just like their green cousin. I decided to give it a good stir with high heat like I usually did with vegetables - the way I preferred. Voila! Here's the result... The dark color still there and guessed what? It tasted crunchy and not mushy at all compared to Green Long Beans which is still crunchy but slightly softer even though I tossed them into the pan the same time after I mixed them up first in a colander.
Stir-fried Mixed Colored Long Beans With Prawns & Cashew Nuts
Serves 2-3

100 g Green Long Beans
100 g Red/Purple Long Beans
100 g Prawns - cleaned and deveined
50 g Cashew Nuts - toasted without oil
4 pips Garlic - minced
½ cube Chicken Stock or ½ cup homemade stock
Oil for frying
Garnishes of your choice

1. Wash the long beans and trim into 3-4 cm lengths. Set aside.
2. In a deep pan or wok, heat some oil until it's hot.
3. Add in the minced garlic and stir-fried until it's slightly brown and fragrant.
4. Add in the toasted Cashew Nuts and stir.
5. Add in prawns and stir quickly (it would curl slightly; do not over cook the prawns or any seafood too long. The texture would be hard or rubbery).
6. Quickly, add in the trimmed long beans and stir to mix thoroughly. By now, the prawns already cook properly with the long beans.
7. Dish it out and serve with your choice of garnishing.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Soya Sauce Chicken

I had been over buying some fresh chicken meat lately, in fact I was thinking of steaming chicken with some chinese herbs my sister-in-law gave me but the idea was put off for couple of times due to last minute change of plans (which I really hate it when I had to accommodate for the sake of someone else's... grrrrrr) and I landed myself with several pieces of chicken breast meats already thawed in the chiller for couple of days :-(

We knew the risks of thawing and refrosting is a BIG NO-NO! I had to do something about the chicken meat... fast because later in the afternoon, there would be some people coming in to check rusty rails at my balcony. There would be lots of screeching, banging and sparks flying about ( I wished it was like in Harry Potter). Alas... my poor plants would be frightened off their leaves! Sigh... but safety first. I wished I could changed the railings to flexiglass panels but I need to submit in paperworks ,blahs, blahs, blahs.... which would take months for approval! My day, definitely not only noisy but smoky and I can't enjoy the rain. Yep, I love rain but within the comfort of my home; not forgetting hot chocolate or tea and some cookies... :-D

Well, after standing inside my kitchen for hours (yep, I'm lazy too when it rains!) this is what I could think of after trying to wake myself up with coffee (thanks dear, for the lovely coffee everyday, bisous!) It's sort of the Malay style of cooking Ayam Masak Kicap - it's simple with few ingredients that made this dish fragrant with sweet and tangy taste from the tomatoes. Serve with hot rice, vegetables, fish or prawn cracker and papadums... don't forget dessert!

Soya Sauce Chicken
Serves 2-4

5 pcs Chicken meat - clean and pat dry (about 300 g - 450 g)
3 nos Big Onions - sliced
2 cloves Garlic - sliced
10 ml Thick Soya Sauce
5 ml Sweet Soya Sauce (Ketjap Manis)
1 nos Large Red Tomato - quartered (or more if you like)
Salt and Sugar to taste

Spices for frying:
2 pcs Cloves
1 pc Cinnamon stick (about 4 cm)
Few pieces Cardamom (I used 4 nos)

Oil for frying

1. In a deep pan or wok, heat some oil, enough to fry the chicken meat in small batches. Cook the chicken pieces half-cooked. Remove and set aside.
2. Fry the big onion, garlic slices and the spices until fragrant.
3. Add in the ketjap manis (sweet soya sauce) and thick soya sauce. Let it boil for awhile in the pan.
4. Lastly add in the half fried chicken pieces and tomatoes. Mix the meat with spices well.
5. Season with salt and sugar.
6. Garnish with coriander leaves or spring onion and serve hot with favourite rice or as side dish.

Note: No need to add water because the chicken meat and tomatoes produced enough water for this dish.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lemongrass Chicken

This is an easy and fast recipe that I used frequently for BBQ or grilling besides the usual satays for potlucks or gatherings. What I like about this recipe is that I can grill it in the oven even though it's more traditional to grill it on open charcoal burner. Living in apartment is not that easy so, oven is the only option but sometimes I tend to overdo it until the whole kitchen turned smoky just to get that chargrill effects :-D

You can serve sliced cucumber and satay sauce with this recipe if you want. Coleslaw tastes great too - kind of giving you crunchy, sweet and sour tastes with extra lemongrass flavour. It's also delicious with plain rice, coconut rice, Bryani Rice, fried rice and stir-fried noodles. It's one of those easy accompaniment recipes that won't go wrong and the usage of lemongrass sticks as pincers to hold the juicy chicken meats added extra topic to talk about in your gatherings :-)

*This is how the halved lemongrass looked like with the cooked meat in between.

Lemongrass Chicken
Serves 2-4

500 g Chicken breast meats
3 Tbl Honey
2 Tbl Light Soya Sauce
1 tsp Fresh Turmeric - grind/pound finely
Salt to taste
Enough Lemongrass for grilling chicken meat

1. Washed the chicken meat thoroughly and cut each piece into 2-3 portions. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper. Set aside in a bowl.
2. In another small bowl, mix well the honey, light soya sauce and grounded fresh turmeric.
3. Pour the marinate into the prepared chicken meat and let the meat marinate for 1 hour.
4. Preparing the lemongrass sticks for grilling: Wash the lemongrass sticks. Split the lemongrass sticks into half about 1 inch from the root end (white part) but not all the way through the tip (green part). This is to make sure you have a space in the center of the lemongrass to hold (to pinch) pieces of meat and the other end to hold and turn the meat when grilling.
Note: If the lemongrass is larger and longer, you can add in extra meat instead of 1 piece per lemongrass stick.
5. Insert the marinated a piece meat (or more) between the halved lemongrass sticks.
6. Grill the meat until it's cooked. You can use the BBQ set to grill or in the oven at 200 ºC for 15-20 minutes or until it's cooked to your preference. Don't forget to turn on both sides (that's where the uncut portion of the lemongrass comes in handy).

Sometimes, I don't use so much of lemongrass to hold pieces of meat for grilling. It could be expensive to buy and it may not be easily available in certain areas. What I did was cut 2-3 lemongrass sticks into halves all the way through and lightly crushed them. Mixed together with the chicken meat and marinate. If you want intense lemongrass flavour, marinate longer than 1 hour (I usually prepared it a day ahead) then you grill as usual. You can leave the crushed lemongrass sticks to grill together with the meat or use bamboo skewers to skew the pieces of meat before grilling.

If you have only dried lemongrass, I suggest that you mix into the marinate first. Let the dried lemongrass soak up some moisture before marinate the chicken meat. The flavour is less pronounce than fresh lemongrass, of course. If you can find fresh lemongrass, try to grow left overs in a pot. Let them grow some roots first in some clean water. Change the water every couple of days until they developed strong roots before planting them into ground or pots. Just beware that when lemongrass finds favourable condition to grow, they may outgrown other plants.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin